Unexpected Comic Strip Creators: Johnny Gruelle

Mr. Twee Deedle, Dolly, and Dickie

This one is a bit different from the previous two unexpected creators, because whereas those two were already famous for other things before becoming involved in comic strips, Johnny Gruelle became famous for something else after he had already been working in comic strips for quite a while.

Gruelle is most famous for creating the children's toys Raggedy Ann and Andy, as well as writing and illustrating storybooks to go along with them. He also wrote and illustrated quite a few other children's books that were not related to Raggedy Ann, including a couple collections of fairy tales. Raggedy Ann was created and patented as a doll in 1915, and she first appeared in Gruelle's books and illustrations in 1918. Andy didn't come along until 1920. Previous to this, however, Gruelle had quite the career as a newspaper cartoonist.

Starting in 1903, he worked at the Indianapolis Star doing political cartoons and caricatures. Around this time he also began work at a couple of newspaper syndicates, the World Color P…

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Unexpected Comic Strip Creators - Zane Grey

King of the Royal Mounted

The story of our next unexpected comic strip creator will probably sound similar in many ways to the one I wrote about Dashiell Hammett. In fact, this post would more appropriately be called "Unexpected Comic Strip Bylines", because although Zane Grey was involved in the production of a comic strip for a short while, his name was used to promote it, as well as other products, for quite a long time after he left.

Zane Grey was best known for writing western novels which generally depicted a romanticized version of the Old West, with larger than life cowboy heroes and noble but savage Native Americans. His books were extremely popular, influenced many writers after him, and were adapted into all different types of media, including radio, film, television, and a comic strip. The comic strip began in 1932, and began as an adaptation of his most popular novel, "Riders of the Purple Sage." Seven of his novels were adapted over the course of its two year run, and while Grey himself did not write any of the words…

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Nancy, December 27, 1964

Nancy, December 27, 1964

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The final Nancy comic of this year.

I have one question, though: Do people still shoot off guns on New Year's Eve, or was that just something they did in 1964? I'd think you'd have enough things that make loud noises that you could probably forego the firearms. Fireworks would probably be sufficient, and would look cooler. That seems to be the prevailing theory around here, anyway.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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Nancy, January 1, 1960

Nancy, January 1, 1960

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That rebus is clever, but it doesn't entirely work for me. What he says is a "bush" looks more like a tree, and a Christmas tree at that. It does break the fourth wall in quite a big way, as well. I mean, pointing to the artist's signature? I didn't know a comic strip character was allowed to do that. Unless, of course, she's not pointing to his signature, but instead has written "Ernie Bushmiller" on the ground for us.

I'm probably thinking a little too hard about this.

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Little Orphan Annie, December 25, 1926

Little Orphan Annie, December 25, 1926

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The image quality on this one isn't too great, so I hope you can see and read it. Compared to most Little Orphan Annie strips, this one is fairly mundane and ordinary. However, since this was published in 1926, and the strip debuted in August of 1924, this is only her third christmas in print and only the second away from the orphanage. So, I guess it would be pretty exciting for her, and not ordinary at all.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

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